Good sound design allows the visually impaired to enjoy plenty of games, but recently we’ve seen more games designed specifically for the blind. These audio-only titles have recently found a home on devices such as iPads and Amazon Alexa, but have also thrived on PC thanks to freeware releases. To celebrate World Braille Day, we’ve put together a list of some of the best games for the visually impaired.
Games for the Visually Impaired: Real Sound
The late Kenji Eno was so moved when he received letters from visually impaired fans that enjoyed his action games that he decided to create a game that only had audio. The end result was the Saturn and Dreamcast cult classic Real Sound: Kaze no Regret, one of the first games specifically designed with the visually impaired. The adventure game focuses on themes of fear and love, and players get to select how the plot unfolds. Please note that the game was only released in Japanese.
Games for the Visually Impaired: Soundvoyager
Nintendo teamed up with Skip Limited for a series of experimental Game Boy Advance titles under the bit Generations banner. One of these was Soundvoyager, a minigame collection that is meant to be played only through sound. Highlights include trying to dodge vehicles while driving the wrong way down a highway, and a side-scrolling platformer that has players trying to land on an invisible target.
Games for the Visually Impaired: AudiOdyssey
Developed by MIT and Singaporean students, AudiOdyssey is a free rhythm game that focused on making sure that visually impaired and sighted players could get the same enjoyment. Players take the role as a DJ that is able to mix various parts of a songs in order to get club goers dancing (although if things get too intense they start knocking into his turntable). There is also an optional control scheme that uses a Nintendo Wii Remote for motion controls.
Games for the Visually Impaired: Papa Sangre
Papa Sangre is a unique horror game for iOS that has players trapped in an afterlife that was completely dark. However, players are tasked with helping save a loved one’s soul and must do so by carefully listening to their surroundings. The original game has 25 levels in total, and a sequel was released in 2013. Sadly, both of the games were removed from the App Store recently, although the developer did make its engine open source afterwards.
Games for the Visually Impaired: Unseen
Unseen: Alpha Mission is a collection of different puzzles that have the player trying to explore a dark cave. Players have to remember where they are headed and avoid various traps along the way. Later on, there are also monsters that are looking to attack the player. It only costs one dollar and has over 14 levels.
Games for the Visually Impaired: Shadow Line
Shadow Line is one of the most impressive audio games. While many of the titles are simple in nature, this is a fully featured action role-playing game. In it, players take the role of a legendary hero that is transported to a mysterious world called Kareshia and has to defend it. The RPG features a unique progression system, similar to Paper Mario: Sticker Star, as players collect items that raise his stats rather than gaining experience.
Games for the Visually Impaired: BlindSide
One of the most critically acclaimed titles is BlindSide, an audio-only adventure game. It was inspired by creator Aaron Rasmussen’s own temporary blindness after a chemistry accident. In the game, players wake up blind and have to avoid mysterious creatures that have ruined the city. It’s available on both iOS devices and computers.
Games for the Visually Impaired: Paladin of the Sky
Paladin of the Sky is another surprisingly in-depth role-playing game. This PC game has over 15 dungeons to explore and 20 bosses to battle. It’s heavily inspired by classic Japanese RPGs, but features its own futuristic storyline that features a world torn by war between dragons and humans. It even has a solid amount of replayability thanks to multiple difficulty settings.
Games for the Visually Impaired: Codename Cygnus
Products like Alexa have been great for the visually impaired. One of the best games on the system the interactive radio drama Codename Cygnus. In it, players get to use their voice to be a secret agent trying to take down an evil organization called Trident. It’s filled with twists and turns, and is quite the fun adventure.
Games for the Visually Impaired: Skyrim Very Special Edition
While this port of Skyrim was mocked and even treated as a joke by Bethesda itself during its reveal, it’s an excellent way to play the massive RPG through only voice. It essentially turns the game into a choose your own adventure game, and it works surprisingly well.